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Donald Trump has moved international trade policy to the top of the list of major issues in the 2016 presidential election. Trump is attracting Republican voters by mingling fears over immigration and trade policy to paint “foreign threats” as the drivers of job loss and wage stagnation for middle class and blue collar families. And perhaps for the first time, Bernie Sanders is showing that the internal Democratic split on this issue goes beyond policy wonk arguments and can move voters in Democratic primaries.

The relationship between trade policy and employment is shaped by a complex mix of factors — many of which I won’t discuss in this post. Whatever one thinks about the substance (or lack thereof) in the political debate over these factors, the importance of trade policy in the 2016 presidential campaign is revealing a profound lack of confidence in the resilience of the American economy and our workforce development strategies. …


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Political campaigns may offer some insights to college and university presidents trying to build a base of support as they lead in challenging times. Just like the country as a whole, college communities are made up of many important constituencies that may be quick to criticize an incumbent or aspiring president for being out of touch and remote. Perhaps the recent controversies at the University of Missouri and other campuses may have come to a different conclusion — or not reached fever pitch at all — if the presidents had a different leadership style.

The spectrum of styles from Donald Trump to the “full Grassley” may not be self-evident outside the circle of presidential political junkies. Trump is already making history for conducting campaigns based on comparatively few, large scale, “set piece” events aimed at the broadcast media as much as at the people in attendance. The Donald eschews the hand-to-hand campaign style that has been expected for years in early primary and caucus states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. …


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How can there be a college monopoly in a country of over 4,000 higher education institutions? In order to see the college monopoly, one has to define the market for higher education in the same way that an antitrust lawyer would. The starting point is the understanding that the vast majority of Americans go to college locally — most as a matter of necessity. Thus, the market is local, not national; and the choices are few, not 4,000.

Any metropolitan region could crunch the numbers if they doubted the existence of a monopoly. Start with the local high school graduating classes across the region, not just a single high school. How many students are applying to competitive admission institutions (50% or lower admission rate) and are willing to travel hundreds of miles from home to go to college? In most regions, that will probably be under 20%, if not under 10%. The vast majority of recent high school graduates are going to colleges in their backyard. …

About

Michael Meotti

Education Policy Group: Innovation for student success and financial sustainability